Recentering, reconnecting and taking it easy

I’ve had an impromptu hiatus from the blog these past 2 weeks. First The Sprouts got sick (yet again – will it ever end?) and then we had mid-term break, which meant Sprout 1 was home all week along with baby Sprout 2. I tend to switch the screens off more around the kids (setting the example and all that), hence no blogging.

Finger painting hand

We pondered signing him up for this holiday “stage” (kind of like day camp for the non-bruxellois) at Turtlewings, which sounded wonderful and he was actually interested in, but in the end decided to keep him home.

Finger painting

You see, this son of mine is of the sensitive, introspective variety and sometimes just needs to be in a safe, quiet, familiar environment in order to recenter and calm down. He has been moody and angry (which many times means aggressive) ever since we came back from our 3 week Christmas holiday in Portugal. He loves going to Portugal, but it ends up being quite a sensory overload for him, with the different routines (or none to speak of), presents galore, lots of travel, and plenty, plenty of attention from family and friends. Add sugary treats to the mix and we have a time bomb!


What he was really needing  was quiet, relaxing time at home. He actually realizes this himself, which is great, and asks to stay home in pj’s all day. One thing he sometimes complains about at school or in other settings with lots of children/crowds is the noise. He doesn’t like it when recess is longer than usual because of this. I must admit, as a highly sensitive person myself, I totally get this. (If you click-through the link, you can take the test to see if you are too.)

Finger painting scratch

Something which really helps him reorganize himself and settle down is painting. Any kind really, but no other beats finger painting for the sensory experience.

Brothers playing

I’m happy to report that, although I was a bit overwhelmed going into a whole week with mostly just me and both kids – especially with the mammoth meltdowns we had been getting every. single. day. – it was a truly wonderful week and no sign of meltdowns. We had ample time to reconnect, which I really think is what every child needs, even if in smaller doses. As an added bonus, my two sons had a blast playing together.

Anyone else have highly sensitive children? What is your experience?

If you think you might have a highly sensitive child, I wholeheartedly recommend this book:

The Highly Sensitive Child

4 thoughts on “Recentering, reconnecting and taking it easy

  1. Hey Sandra! It seems like we have been in similar situations these past few weeks 🙂

    Mr. Baby has (is) also a bit ill ever since we came back from Portugal, and now the runny nose has managed to affect his eyes… When will this end?

    I reply to your post is because I fully understand your Portugal story, as we have the same issues when we are there (though smaller because baby and visit time are shorter).

    I try to stick as much to our routine as possible and I follow my mantra “my baby, my rules”. Of course, this doesn’t make me very popular… I kidnap mr. Baby a few times a day for naps and quiet time, cutting in on precious family time (and yes I feel the guilt). But I found that explaining the why and how helped a lot and our family there now sticks to it quite well! I think they also saw that the days that we didn’t follow my rules were fun during the day but total drama by evening. However, I have the impression that there is some cultural difference on how to deal with this situation. Mr. Husband doesn’t always agree with me, the cold and harsh person from the North 🙂

  2. Hi Sandra, I think it’s great that you had the courage and energy to keep Sprout 1 home for the holidays knowing that you’d be alone with both Sprouts quite a lot. We generally take off to granny and granddad in Germany, so that I get some support. Mind you with my mum walking the dog twice a day and several hernias preventing her from lifting my little girl too much, I still take care of both of the kids a lot over there. This holiday we took the nanny along with us which meant my son had a blast going sledging and doing all sorts of action games which I generally don’t have the time or energy to do with him.

    My son also seems to be very sensitive (not quite sure yet if you can call him hyper sensitive) but like you both him and I have trouble with too much noise (this is unless he is the one making the noise :-)). He used to cry when my parents dog barked and still now at 4.5 he closes his ears when the dog barks or his sister cries or whines too loud.

    For a long time he thought I was sending him to school because I did not want him at home. When I finally got to the bottom of this, I felt so bad. One because I did not understand what the problem was earlier and two because he had that impression in the first place. Ever since I knew that was how he felt, I made sure to be at the school gate early and in a spot where he could see me in the crowd of parents. I also told him many times that I am happy when he has fun at school but that I am also very happy to have him back home. We got there eventually, a year after he started school he finally made a few very good friends and started to enjoy school. For his 4th birthday he invited 11 kids from his class (I would normally have said that he can invite 4 children but did not want to break his enthusiasm). We threw an Indian party in the garden with a big tent and feather crowns, music making, dancing and games. He did cry for a moment when some kids got a bit pushy but at night he said ‘I want the exact same party for my next birthday’. That made my mother heart smile.

  3. Oh, Lies! You sure are right about the cultural differences! We don’t usually have much of a hassle with schedules at my Mom’s (sweets, on the other hand, is an entirely different story!), but everyone is on totally different schedules at my in laws. We end up suffering from major jet lag even though the actual time difference is only an hour!
    Hope your mr. Baby is feeling better!

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